Duxbury Public School officials have said the district is seeing an increase of COVID-19 cases in the school community, with evidence of in-person spread and 10 new cases reported in a two-day period. There have been several instances of in-school spread at Alden School, according to a letter sent Friday from Interim Superintendent Danielle Klingaman and Interim Assistant Superintendent Beth Wilcox.
Classes impacted by in-school spread are using test and stay protocol with parent permission, the letter said.
From Sept. 1 through Nov. 9, the district had 22 total COVID cases. From Nov. 10 to 19, there were 23 more cases, with 10 of those cases reported in the past two days, the administrators said Friday.
“We are continuing with the COVID mitigation strategies that proved to be extremely effective in our schools last year, including spacing student desks, maximizing distancing during snack and lunch, use of hand sanitizer, utilizing outdoor spaces, and mask-wearing at all times while indoors. We also continue to follow enhanced cleaning protocols, including sanitizing high-touch surfaces during the school day,” the letter read.
School officials asked families to be vigilant outside of school, citing an apparent spike in COVID cases across the state.
“Our number one priority is for students to remain healthy and in school this year and it will take a collective effort to successfully navigate the next few winter months. We know that everyone is looking forward to a more normal Thanksgiving this year, but we ask that families keep COVID safety in mind over the holiday break,” the letter read.
Reports of COVID cases among students and school staff have been increasing statewide over the last two weeks.
From Nov. 11 to 17, Massachusetts public schools reported that 3,257 students and 558 staff members tested positive for the virus. That’s an increase from Nov. 4 to 10, when 2,640 students and 381 staff members tested positive.
Springfield firefighters were at the scene of a structure fire at 45 Loring Street in the city’s South End early Saturday evening.
Initial information indicates that the fire in the single-family, two-and-a-half-story home was concentrated in the rear of the structure and firefighters were using two aerial ladders to reach the flames. Fire officials said all fire companies have been called out to the scene.
There is no information yet on the number of people forced from the residential building nor information about possible injuries.
Salisbury police have identified 39-year-old Rebecca Bartczak of Amesbury as the bicyclist who was struck and killed Friday night by a hit-and-run driver.
Bartczak was riding a bicycle on Folly Mill Road in Salisbury around 11:16 p.m. when she was struck, police said in a statement.
A truck carrying a small camper hit Bartczak, who was pronounced dead at the scene, the statement said.
Though the camper dislodged after the crash, the truck drove off. About 30 minutes later, Hampton Falls police found the truck in Kensington, New Hampshire, police said.
The crash remains under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call Salisbury Police Sgt. Keith Forget at 978-465-3121.
Springfield police are investigating an afternoon shooting in the city’s Forest Park neighborhood that sent one man to the hospital.
Ryan Walsh, the Springfield Police Department spokesperson said police responded to a 4:30 p.m. ShotSpotter activation near the intersection of Dickinson and Keith streets. Officers did not find a victim but did find evidence of a shooting.
A short time later an adult male suffering a gunshot wound to the hand arrived at the Baystate Medical Center emergency room. Walsh said the wound is not considered life-threatening.
The incident remains under investigation.
A former Emerson College assistant professor who was a middle school teacher in Minnesota has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for sexually abusing students, officials said.
Jefferson Fietek abused the children while he was a teacher in Minnesota, according to a statement from the office of Anoka County Attorney Tony Palumbo.
Fietek, 48, pleaded guilty in August to three felony counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, with each count representing a separate victim.
As part of a plea agreement, Fietek admitted to sexual acts with two other victims. Other remaining charges were dismissed at sentencing, according to the statement.
On Wednesday, Fietek was sentenced to the 30 years in prison and he will be required to register as a predatory offender.
“It is horrible that Fietek took the innocence of young boys for his own pleasure,” Palumbo said. “Although a 30-year prison sentence will not return that innocence, today is an important step in the healing of those hurt by the defendant.”
In July 2020, the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office said Fietek was living in Malden and was arrested by police there. He was brought back to Minnesota to face charges.
At the time, officials said they had received a report of sexual assault that occurred roughly nine years prior, involving a former staff member at the Anoka Middle School for Arts. Then other survivors were identified.
The assaults occurred at the school, in the Anoka County area and Fietek’s home in Minnesota, records indicated. The boys were either 14 or 15 when the alleged abuse began.
Emerson College told said in 2020 that it cut ties with Fietek after hiring him the year before.
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